Friday, March 27, 2015

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had a telephone conversation with International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Christine Lagarde on yesterday (26.03), during which he briefed her on the progress of negotiations between Greece and its EU partners, as well as the implementation of the Eurogroup agreement of February 20. They also discussed the so-called ‘Lagarde list’ which contains the names of possible tax evaders with undisclosed accounts in a Swiss bank.

According to IMF spokesman William Murray, the discussion also focused on the next steps in moving ahead with the IMF's support of Greece's reform program. Murray confirmed that Greece had promptly paid installments against IMF loans in March and, in response to a question, he noted that the IMF was clear on the need to distribute the tax burden fairly.

Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis is on a four-day official visit to China, accompanied by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.

On March 25, Kotzias met with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing and the two ministers discussed strengthening bilateral economic ties. Their meeting focused on the formulation of a joint action plan for 2015-17 and a series of proposals for cooperation in the sectors of economy, culture and education. There was also a detailed discussion of the European Union’s relations with the People’s Republic of China.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is also due to travel to Beijing for an official visit in May.

A whopping ten percent of total surface of Greek land is occupied by archaeological monuments of some sort. As such, construction or installation of infrastructural works would come to a halt if they approach archaeological finds. In order to protect the country’s cultural heritage and prevent complications arising, the Ministry of Culture announced that an archaeological cadastre will be available online in the form of a web portal by the end of 2015.

It will provide useful information to administrative authorities as well as citizens for better and faster planning. The volume of the registry is impressive. The Ministry is waging a huge effort to list all 4,000 land zones of designated archaeological and historical interest; 100 underwater archaeological zones; 7,000 public buildings of historical interest; 20,000 monuments of which, 12,000 are ancient and 8,000 post 19th century, and 1,000 locations used as repositories for archaeological finds.

Either in the form of praise or prize, every year, Greek wine earns international distinctions. With a millennia-long tradition, wine-making has become part of the Greek DNA. However, becoming an international player is a privilege reserved for the few producing countries which combine quality with familiarity. Over the years, Greek wine has gained recognition but many agree that the existing potential can raise the country to greater achievements.

Greece boasts over 300 indigenous varieties, among which Assyrtiko (white), grown mainly on Santorini island, Agiorgitiko, grown in Nemea in the Peloponnese, and Xinomavro (red), grown widely in the northern province of Macedonia. Greece’s wine-growing regions are almost as varied as its grapes, with vineyards in every area: Macedonia in the north, the Ionian Islands in the west, Crete to the south and the Aegean islands in the east.

One of the things that make Spetses island charming, is the fact that there are almost no automobiles circulating on its cobble-stone alleys. This makes it ideal for bike rides and more particularly, the Tweed Run, a bike ride which began 7 years ago in London and has travelled across the world since then. This particular ride invites participants to wear their most elegant vintage outfits, decorate their bikes accordingly and enjoy a peaceful and carefree ride in the countryside.

The style needed for the ride fits perfectly the profile of the island. A pioneer of the 19th century in tourist marketing, (one of the first beaches to introduce mixed bathing), Spetses has kept the allure of a bygone era with the sophisticated style of a modern connoisseur. The Tweed Run will be held for the second time on Spetses (March 28 & 29) and is organised by the island’s emblematic Poseidonion Grand Hotel pictured below.